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2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Health, Health (General & Financing), International, Public Health, Scholarships, Scholarships & Student Financial Aid

Mission: Improving Health. Developing Leaders. Creating Change. The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) is improving the health of vulnerable people now and for the future by developing a corps of Leaders in Service—professionals skilled in creating positive change with and in our communities, our health and human service systems, and our world.

Results: ASF selects graduate student Schweitzer Fellows to spend a year developing and implementing service projects that address health and its social determinants in vulnerable communities. In addition to carrying out their Schweitzer service projects in partnership with community-based agencies (and under the guidance of Schweitzer mentors), Fellows participate in ASF’s reflective leadership development programming -- which includes monthly meetings and trainings that contextualize Fellows' service experiences and enhance their ability to carry out interventions that improve the health status of underserved people. Since 1992, Schweitzer Fellows have contributed 500,000 hours of service to vulnerable communities. 250 Schweitzer Fellows annually: * Serve at 13 U.S. locations and the Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon, Africa * Provide nearly 50,000 hours of service * Serve nearly 25,000 low-to-moderate income clients * Partner with nearly 250 community-based organizations * Represent more than 100 leading universities * Develop a blueprint for lifelong service. The Schweitzer Fellows for Life alumni network: * Supports a pipeline of Leaders in Service more than 2,000 strong and growing * 70% spend more than 75% of their professional time in clinical or human service * 59% of their patients and clients, on average, are from underserved populations * 99% say ASF is integral to sustaining their commitment to serve the underserved.

Target demographics: Underserved individuals and communities across the U.S. and in Gabon, Africa. Schweitzer Fellows' projects focus on the social determinants of health, and also address major chronic health issues (including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, oral health, violence, substance abuse, and mental health).

Direct beneficiaries per year: 25,000

Geographic areas served: Baltimore, Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Greater Philadelphia, Houston, Indiana, Los Angeles, New Hampshire-Vermont, New Orleans, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Gabon, Africa

Programs: U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program Baltimore Bay Area Boston Chicago Columbus-Athens Greater Philadelphia Houston-Galveston Indiana Los Angeles New Hampshire-Vermont New Orleans North Carolina Pittsburgh Lambaréné Schweitzer Fellows Program Fellows for Life Program Schweitzer Legacy Project

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Participating in the fellowship for the 2009-10 year deeply enhanced my skills as a social worker, a participant in the healthcare community, and solidified my commitment to service. I met weekly with two groups of court-involved young men teaching meditation. In the end, I found my students teaching me what they believed meditation to be. Instead of a practice of stillness, they developed a practice of meditation that wasn't about the "ohm" and sitting in the lotus position--but one of valuing time for reflection. We explored different ways to build a space for reflection. Through monthly meetings with my Schweitzer fellows, we learned about health disparities and delivering culturally competent solutions that were built collaboratively with our clients. The monthly speakers were a catalyst for our discussions and growth. The other fellows come from very diverse backgrounds--working towards master's in music, veterinary/medical/psychiatric nursing degrees, dental students, occupational therapists, public health candidates, and so much more. Meeting in fellowship with my colleagues was inspiring when you saw the challenges they came against and the insightful and innovative ways they implemented their projects within communities--and how they figured out how to make them sustainable. I found my project to be so enriching and focusing in my development as a clinical and macro social worker. The guiding mission set forth by Albert Schweitzer for "Reverence for life" through a life of service becomes strong within the fellows in their project year, but for myself, and, as for many fellows, it becomes a way of life.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My experience with the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) was a life enhancing experience. As a fellow in 2009-10, I developed and led a support group for formerly chronically homeless adults in the Boston area. The experience afforded extensive opportunities to develop leadership skills by connecting scholars and leaders in the service community with the fellows in the program. Through monthly meetings with community leaders, volunteer opportunities, and project assistance with professional mentors and trained ASF staff, the fellowship offers structured leadership development through the spirit of service. One particular example of this connectedness with my own project occurred through a physician with the Healthcare for the Homeless team in Boston who presented on Housing First programs to address homelessness in the Boston area. Her research and efforts inspired me to pursue work on a fellowship project (outlined in brief above) supporting these efforts in a neighboring community. The support of mentors, both academic and project skill specific affords fellows in this program tools to take initiative in addressing health disparaties in creative ways. Encouragement and expertise of the ASF staff further enhanced the experience. Health disparities are areas where the heart and head often collide to create frustration. However, the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship approaches this liminal state as fertile ground for grass roots change and leadership development.